Right now you are the only one who might have any idea of what I am going through. I wish I knew what to ask you. I guess one of my first questions to you would be: How much contact should I have with my kids?
Their grandmother said I could call or stop over whenever I wanted. I told her I would rather let my children call me when they wanted, and I would like to come see them if they asked her if I could come over.
She said that they do not usually tell her what they want, so I should probably make the first move towards contacting them. I have been emailing them, but that is it so far except for calling their grandmother twice to see how they were doing.
If I contact them first, will it make the situation worse? If I wait for them, will they think that I don't miss them? I might be their Mom, but I feel like no matter what I do, it will be wrong in their eyes.
Do you have any suggestions?
I agree with their grandmother. You will have to be the one to initiate contact – at first. After everyone has recovered from “resentment flu,” your kids will start to initiate contact as well.
Don’t make a big production out of the visits, and keep them short initially. Simply pop-in unannounced, ask how things are going, tell them you love them (don’t wait for a response; it doesn’t matter how they respond), then go on about your day.
Make visits a habit – a weekly event that is never missed. But, again, keep them short at first. And don’t expect anything from your kids (e.g., kind statements, hugs, kisses, eye-to-eye contact, etc.). Don’t require them to respond to you in any particular way.
Ask your higher power -- whoever that is -- to give you guidance. Trust that you will receive the guidance you need. Be patient with the process. Detach from the outcome. And never, never give up!
The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen
The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.
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